Clay Smith and Paul Eaves tied Tyler Wade and Billie Jack Saebens for the average win at the Caldwell (Idaho) Night Rodeo, banking one of the biggest single paydays available to team ropers in late August. Smith and Eaves won $6,801 each, including a round-two win and short-round paycheck, while Wade and Saebens took home $6,781 a man for a second-place first-round check and the short-round fast time.
“This was our first rodeo together,” Saebens, who rode his 9-year-old gelding Kevin, said. “Coleman (Proctor) went home to help get ready for his daughter they’re expecting, and Tyler came to help me make the final push.”
Wade, who was aboard his black-andwhite 17-year-old Paint gelding Bunny, and Saebens were third callback and had to be 5.6 to take the lead. They didn’t have a ton of confidence in the steer they had drawn.
“We thought that steer would try more, but he didn’t go anywhere,” Saebens said. “For Tyler to get out the barrier, he did a really, really great job. I missed my dally—for a while— but we finally came tight in 5.1.”
“I didn’t head that good this summer so I wanted to redeem myself and make sure I was still meant to head steers,” Wade said. “That Dixon Flowers program has Billie on some really good horses, and that gives me confidence. If I know we can be fast and he can make up some time, I am more comfortable taking another swing. It makes it a lot easier. I came out with no
expectations to see how it goes. I would be a lot more nervous about it if he had $50,000 won and we had to make up ground. We’re just kind of roping steers now.”
Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira didn’t have any luck at second callback, but Smith and Eaves were high team with a good steer.
“We knew our steer was probably good enough to try to win something pretty good in the average,” Smith, who rode his great 9-year-old grey, Marty, said. “We are always trying to make the best run on the steer we could. The barrier kind of hung my rope whenever I left, so I had to restart. But Paul heeled him really fast so that made up for that.”
Eaves, who has a new baby, LoElla, on the road with him and his wife, Amanda, for the last push of the season, rode his 12-year-old gelding Spade. Spade has become Eaves’ number-one since the Mis- souri heeler retired his signature horse, Cadillac, this summer. But Eaves just added another bullet to his arsenal—Big Casino—the sorrel gelding 2012 World Champion Heeler Jhett Johnson rode and owned the last few years.
“I’m with Spade a lot more than Big Casino, and he’s a lot like him and they both can run and move their feet pretty quick,” Eaves said. “Hopefully he takes over the number-one spot shortly. I’ve hardly gotten to ride him at all.”